Af you’re anything like me, you’ll be getting bored of your daily work-from-home lunch by now. I mean, I’ve never been one to buy the most exciting lunches, or rustle up something ‘wow’ during the week, but it was nice to be able to switch it up a little and visit bakeries or those city centre lunch spots when I wanted to!
If you’re stuck for inspiration outside of your basic salad or sandwich, then look no further – I’ve been researching some ways to mix up that midday meal. The below recipes are super easy and quick to make at home! This way, you can throw a plate together when you have a few minutes spare, either in the morning before you head off to work (if you’re still going to the office), or at lunchtime at home when you’re feeling hungry.
I started to focus on healthy lunch ideas, which are also seriously affordable, however, a few ‘naughtier’ ones slipped in! If you do opt for one of the healthier options, you can always treat yourself to a slice of home-baked cake afterwards (I’m guessing banana bread!).
Try any twist on stuffed peppers with whatever stuffing you like! Ideally chopped tomatoes, rice, couscous, onion, cheese and salad make good fillings, but you can be as healthy or as unhealthy as you like here!
Basically, you simply cut the top and insides off the pepper and load up with the stuffing you choose (let’s say tomatoes, rice and spring onions, finished with a sprinkling of parsley and crumbly cheese!). Bake in the oven for around 10-15 minutes and top with salad garnishing.
A much healthier way of consuming vegetables, and it’s versatile! You can double this up as a dinner recipe if you like, stuffing the peppers with Turkey mince, passata, and mozzarella cheese. Mmmmmm.
Tomato and Sourdough Bread Salad
If you’ve had a go at baking sourdough at home, then even better!
Firstly, mix up chopped garlic, anchovies, a cup of basil and ¼ cup of olive oil. Add a splash of vinegar if you have it, and ¼ teaspoon of salt. Pulse in your food processor until it forms a thick dressing.
Cut tomatoes up into large chunks and toss with the dressing. Next, meal a knob of butter in a pan with a drizzle of olive oil. Throw on chunks of sourdough until coated, and then lay out the chunks of bread onto a baking sheet. Pop into the oven for around 15 minutes on a low heat so that the sourdough is warm, slightly golden, crisp on the outside and slightly chewy in the middle.
Mix the warm bread with the tomato mix, then fold in the basil, drizzle a little oil and finish with salt and pepper. Inspired by Good Housekeeping.
Breaded Chicken & Salad Pittas
This one will also go down well with the kids! Take a pack of breaded chicken goujons – nuggets will also do! – and heat the oven to gas 7, 220°C, fan 200°C. They usually need cooking for around 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, put some grated cheese in a bowl with a little bit of mayonnaise, salt and pepper, and mix together. Chopped red onion is also a tasty addition!
To serve, toast the pittas, splitting them in half width-ways then opening each pitta pocket. Spread each pitta pocket with some of the cheese mix and stuff with lettuce/spinach and cucumber. Put 2-3 crispy chicken goujons or nuggets into each pitta.
Ricotta and Blueberry Bread
This one is a little naughtier and makes a lovely Friday lunchtime treat! Firstly, preheat the oven to around 200°C, fan 180°C. This works best with brioche slices, but if you just have standard bread it is still achievable.
Place the brioche slices onto an oven rack, ideally with a baking tray beneath it. Bake the bread lightly for around 5 minutes. Spread the warm bread with ricotta, finishing with a sprinkle of blueberries and drizzling honey over the fruit and ricotta.
You can also make this more of a filling meal by adding a handful of chopped banana and a spoonful of crunchy peanut butter. It’s a mixture between sweet and savoury, which works incredibly well together and makes for a real comforting treat lunch!
Mexican Style Rice & Fish
If you have tins of tuna in the cupboard but are bored of tuna sandwiches (or tuna in jacket potatoes), then why not try making it a little more exciting with a rainbow of veg and rice?
If you have flavoured rice packets, like the microwaveable ones, Mexican rice works best. Firstly, you would lightly fry sweet peppers, black beans (kidney beans will do!) and garlic, before adding them to a bowl of Mexican rice. If you have jalapenos in, sprinkle a few into the bowl for that extra kick. Then, top the bowl with a tin of tuna, or mackerel – whatever tinned fish you have in.
You can top with a spicy sauce or even a dollop of mayonnaise if you prefer!